FAQ on Host Card Emulation

1) What is Host Card Emulation?

Card Emulation is where a Mobile device emulates any contactless smart card. Host Card Emulation is a type of card emulation, where the NFC transaction processing, is governed by the operating system and the software application rather than the secure elements (eg SIM Card) on the mobile phone.

Host Card Emulation also does away with the need to work with Trusted Service Managers (TSM) and Mobile Network Operators (MNO). For example, Samsung Pay, a proprietary solution from Samsung, leverages on the concept of HCE where the mobile application (wallet) is provided by Samsung that works on NFC enabled Samsung smart phones powered by Android OS.

2) How does HCE emulation work?

Basically Host Card Emulation enables a mobile to work like a contactless smart card i.e. all the essential payment card related details are pushed into the mobile phone through a process called as ‘Provisioning’. Once the provisioning is performed the customer can open the mobile phone app, and perform the transaction as he would using his contactless smart card. The POS terminal would behave no differently for a contactless smart card transaction v/s a mobile based HCE transaction.

3) Who are the different stakeholders of HCE?

Wallet (Service) Providers: Party who provides the mobile wallet to perform the HCE transaction. Usually Wallet Providers also provide the corresponding server component and the mobile application component to enable the NFC transaction process.

Token Service Providers (TSP): With the introduction of HCE, the concept of Card number is further divided into a virtual card number called as ‘Token’. A single card can have multiple tokens (possibly to enable multiple mobile phones belonging to the same customer to map one of his smart cards). So each BIN range (or a sub-BIN range) can be mapped to a token range. The entity which helps to convert a card number to a token number and corresponding processes related to token are called as ‘Token Service Providers (TSPs). MasterCard and Visa act as a TSPs as well.

4) What are the different implementation options available for the Issuer to implement HCE?

Option 1: Issuer has the option to implement options like Samsung Pay, Android Pay, Apple Pay

Option 2: If a bank has their own app, then they can enhance the app to simulate NFC based transactions i.e. the mobile should emulate the message similar to a contactless smart card (EMV transaction commands). This process is called as ‘Issuer Wallet’ upgrade and ‘Issuer Wallet Integration’ when the wallet is connected to the Token Service Providers.

5) How can a bank enhance their own mobile app with NFC i.e. Issuer Wallet Integration?

Banks should perform the following:

  • Enhance their mobile app with a HCE-NFC SDK provider to make their issuer wallet HCE ready
  • Implement a HCE server for the mobile app to communicate and process the transactions
  • Integrate with an existing Token Service Provider (like Visa or MasterCard) or host a new Token Vault
6) As a bank, what are my other impacts to launch a HCE?
  • Existing Operational procedures have to be modified to handle the life-cycle of a token. So the bank can either enhance their existing customer servicing portals to perform Token Management or use Visa and MasterCard provided portals to perform the token management.
  • Existing Transaction Management Risk Rules/Procedures would need to be revisited for the Token Based transactions
7) As a bank should I choose, off-the-shelf products like Samsung Pay, Android Pay, Apple Pay OR should I enhance my existing application?

Certainly, the answer to this, is not a simple yes or a no. Factors need to be weighed as does a detailed study of the bank need. Some differences are;

  • The off-the-shelf products providers an quicker time to launch the product.
  • Features cannot be added by the banks as required. It depends on the wallet providers.
8) How can Attra help you in your quest to launch your own wallet?

We can help you from inception to implementation that includes;

  • Initial consultancy to understand the current bank offerings, weigh options available in the market you operate in and devise an implementation strategy
  • Help commission commercial off-the-shelf products such as Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, Android Pay etc and/or integrate in house solution to integrate HCE capability with NFC SDK to enable your current bank wallet
  • Integrate your back office solution and wallet with Token Service Providers such as MasterCard, Visa and/or American Express Token Services
  • Alternately, if the bank chooses to build your own Token Vault, we can help commission a custom solution for you
  • End to End testing and implementation of the solution
  • Support through to post implementation

We can help you from inception to implementation that includes;

  • Initial consultancy to understand the current bank offerings, weigh options available in the market you operate in and devise an implementation strategy
  • Help commission commercial off-the-shelf products such as Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, Android Pay etc and/or integrate in house solution to integrate HCE capability with NFC SDK to enable your current bank wallet
  • Integrate your back office solution and wallet with Token Service Providers such as MasterCard, Visa and/or American Express Token Services
  • Alternately, if the bank chooses to build your own Token Vault, we can help commission a custom solution for you
  • End to End testing and implementation of the solution
  • Support through to post implementation

We can help you from inception to implementation that includes;

  • Initial consultancy to understand the current bank offerings, weigh options available in the market you operate in and devise an implementation strategy
  • Help commission commercial off-the-shelf products such as Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, Android Pay etc and/or integrate in house solution to integrate HCE capability with NFC SDK to enable your current bank wallet
  • Integrate your back office solution and wallet with Token Service Providers such as MasterCard, Visa and/or American Express Token Services
  • Alternately, if the bank chooses to build your own Token Vault, we can help commission a custom solution for you
  • End to End testing and implementation of the solution
  • Support through to post implementation

We can help you from inception to implementation that includes;

  • Initial consultancy to understand the current bank offerings, weigh options available in the market you operate in and devise an implementation strategy
  • Help commission commercial off-the-shelf products such as Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, Android Pay etc and/or integrate in house solution to integrate HCE capability with NFC SDK to enable your current bank wallet
  • Integrate your back office solution and wallet with Token Service Providers such as MasterCard, Visa and/or American Express Token Services
  • Alternately, if the bank chooses to build your own Token Vault, we can help commission a custom solution for you
  • End to End testing and implementation of the solution
  • Support through to post implementation

We can help you from inception to implementation that includes;

  • Initial consultancy to understand the current bank offerings, weigh options available in the market you operate in and devise an implementation strategy
  • Help commission commercial off-the-shelf products such as Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, Android Pay etc and/or integrate in house solution to integrate HCE capability with NFC SDK to enable your current bank wallet
  • Integrate your back office solution and wallet with Token Service Providers such as MasterCard, Visa and/or American Express Token Services
  • Alternately, if the bank chooses to build your own Token Vault, we can help commission a custom solution for you
  • End to End testing and implementation of the solution
  • Support through to post implementation